For mature Christians only. [An unpublished poem, rather dark and critical, written about 1968-70 during the Jesus Movement and when the youth, young adults, and hippies were demonstrating, avoiding the draft, and doing drugs.]

They sit there, stone-faced in the pews

And always pay their offering-dues.

They never smile, they never feel

The warmth of love that brought them here.

They stand to sing and fill the air

With apathy and dark despair—

And searching in the streets outside

Are regiments of souls, denied

The cushioned pew and lofty view

God granted to these holy few.

The sermon falls on thickened ears

Made calloused by the haunting fears

Of being different than those

Who wander through hell’s bungalows.

But are those lost, delusional souls

Made welcome where the church bell tolls?

On no! Because these souls so dark—

Souls branded with a question mark—

Have not faked-out society

And curtsied Christianity.

And so, the Christian walks the fence—

No wonder he’s so scared and tense!

He wants to do as Christ would do

Yet not offend the world much, too.

So, when the world says come do this,

He gladly throws the cross a kiss!

And when the world allows him to

He does just what the Christians do.

And on he goes, a pompous flare,

A stumbling block, a devil’s snare.

Oh, shades of ambiguity!

Are Christians sure what they believe?

Or is it they don’t understand?

For Christians never raise a hand!

They never see that “poor lost thing”

But look the other way and sing:

“Just as I am without one plea

But that Thy blood was shed for me,”

Then walk away to go and pray

That God reveals His will someday.

While all this show is going on

The searching souls are going—gone—

To Satan’s hell—and as they go

They ask, “Where was that crimson flow?

Where was that God of love and grace?

Where was that blessed redeemer’s face?

Where was that cross on Calvary

Where Jesus died for you and me?”

And Satan answers quick and short,

“The Christian hid them in his heart.”


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